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IRWIN D. MANDEL

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MANDEL--Irwin D., DDS. Professor Emeritus of Dental Medicine of the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, passed away on May 26, 2011. Dr. Irwin Mandel was born on April 9, 1922. He and his wife Charlotte, an award-winning poet and teacher, had two daughters, Nora and Carol, and a son, Richard. With the exception of two stints in the Navy Dental Corps (1945-1946 and 1952-1954), Dr. Mandel spent his entire career at Columbia, where he received his dental degree in 1945. Prior to that, Irwin graduated from the College of the City of New York in 1942. He began as a research assistant in 1946, and gave up his part-time private practice in 1968 to devote himself full-time to research and teaching. He founded and served as the director of the Division of Preventive Dentistry at Columbia, the first such department in the country, and also served as the founding director of the Center for Clinical Research in Dentistry, and as the Dental School's Associate Dean for Research before attaining emeritus status in 1992. A past president of the American Association for Dental Research, his many awards include the first Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Dental Research from the American Dental Association (1985). Other honors include the Award for Leadership in Periodontology from Tufts University (1971), the International Award from the University of Connecticut (1979), the Jarvie-Burkhardt International Award given by the New York State Dental Association (1990), and the Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Public Health Dentistry (1991). Dr. Mandel received the honorary degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa) from Columbia University in 1996. He also holds honorary degrees from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (1981) and the University of Goteborg, Sweden (1994). As part of Columbia University's 250th anniversary celebration, Irwin was honored as one of the “Columbians Ahead of Their Time” and at a symposium held at the Dental School. Author of over 225 scientific articles and 18 books or book chapters, Dr. Mandel conducted pioneering research on the role of dental plaque in tooth decay and periodontal disease, and is also known for studies of salivary composition as it relates to dental disease and systemic disease. As a researcher, author, and teacher, Irwin D. Mandel played a major role in shifting the focus of dentistry from repair to prevention. Until recently, Dr. Mandel served as a consultant and research mentor on several projects. He was Chief Dental Advisor to Consumers Union and its publications, a position he held for nearly 50 years. He was also a consultant and spokesperson for the American Dental Association, Associate Editor of the Journal of Dental Research, and a grants reviewer for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. He was an active writer and reviewer for the Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health (2000), and served as the preventive dentistry consultant to NASA's manned mission to Mars project. Irwin's influence on generations of dental students at Columbia was enormous. He emphasized the need to translate research findings into improved clinical care. Irwin will be remembered for his prodigious intellect, sharp wit, and his devotion to Columbia and the profession of dentistry. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife, Charlotte, his daughters Nora and Carol, his son Richard, and members of his family. In lieu of flowers, Dr. Mandel's family has requested that donations in his memory be sent to the College of Dental Medicine, Irwin D. Mandel Research Fund, 630 West 168 St., New York, NY 10032. Ira B. Lamster, D.D.S., Dean College of Dental Medicine Columbia University

Published in The New York Times on May 28, 2011
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